BLOG #7 – Night Walk along Cluny Road, April 2021

First off, I would like to apologise for the lack of writing in my previous post, as well as my inactivity on my blog for 2 weeks or so. I have forgotten to add these two photographs of my previous trip to Mandai 7, and so I would also like to state that the place is indeed a good place for finding insects, and one can expect to see a few herpers and macro photographers on a good day. This Strongylium Darkling Beetle and the pair of tree snakes was seen on the same day, the snakes having been spotted by a small group of herpers.

Now on to the main post. I started at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens, meaning to look for some interesting beetles inside the gardens. However, after a frustrating 20 minutes of searching to no avail, I decided to change my plan, and walk along the side of Cluny road, fringing the Botanical Gardens, which led me towards the Malay state land. When I arrived at the secondary forest near the bus stop, I was greeted with the sight of a pretty Katydid, slowly moving amongst the tall vegetation.

At the covered walkway, some small insects were drawn to the dim lights on the roof, however, my eyes focused on a small shiny Chrysomelid (Leaf beetle), resting high up, far out of reach of my camera. I took this as a good sign to continue, and proceeded on with the walk. Just as I was wondering why I had not yet observed any spiders (except for the really really minute ones), my eyes fell on this relatively common, yet delightful Spotted Orb Weaver (Neoscona sp.) Where you find one, you find many. Right next to it was a few other spiders of the same kind, relaxing in their intricate webs and seemingly undisturbed by the flashes coming from my camera equipment.

After a while of intense peering at the foliage, I decided to head back, disappointed at the lack of interesting critters. However, I was stopped when I had barely taken ten steps, by the sight of the same species of beetle I had seen earlier on the shelter!

– Chrysomelidae, Eumolpinae

Here with a ? Whitefly?

Just before I left the edge of the secondary forest along the walkway, I found a common June beetle, Apogonia sp, resting on the leaf, probably still sleepy and not yet ready to start its feasting.

Right after this, I left the walkway which ran alongside the Malayan State land, and crossed the road to reach the pavement adjacent to the Botanical gardens. As I continued walking back towards the pick-up point, my eyes fell on clumps of white foam on a small, white-flowered plant, looking like decorations on the small shrub. This foam is actually a protective casing for the nymphs of spittlebugs, and as there were many clumps around, I assumed correctly that I would find some adults as well. Sure enough, after scanning the leaves for a mere five seconds, I found many adult Spittlebugs, practicing social distancing, with one on each leaf! It turned out to be Ptyelinellus praefractus, a relatively common species of spittlebug that can be found in urban parks and gardens.

Just pass the shrub with many Ptyelinellus praefractus hoppers, a speck of white flew across my path and landed on the underside of an Elephant Ear leaf. It turned out to be a beautiful ladybeetle, of the tribe Ortaliini. Unfortunately it was moving about frantically most of the time, thus I could not get a great shot.

After this chance encounter, I continued down the path. There were many shrubs lining the path, and most had many of the same Ptyelinellus praefractus spittlebugs on them. However, my eyes fell on a tiny, 2mm speck on one leaf. It was, under closer inspection, another hopper! Under my flash, its true colours came out, however the shots are again regrettably not very sharp, as the leaves blocked some of the lighting from reaching this beauty. Nevertheless, it was probably the most colourful find of the night. It is a flathead leafhopper, of the Genus Uzelina.

After this cool critter, there were no more finds until I arrived at the pick-up point. There, I found a 3mm darkling beetle, Amarygmus sp, high up on a vine, too far out of my camera’s reach unfortunately. It is still included here as a record of what I had seen.

And with that, there marked the end of my partially fruitful trip to Cluny roadside. Although I did see some interesting creatures, in the future I probably would pick a different spot to go, as the number of insects seen divided by the time I spent would result in a much lower ‘score’ than, for example, Windsor Nature Park.






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